New Perspectives on Margaret Laurence: Poetic Narrative, Multiculturalism, and Feminism

By Greta M. K. McCormick Coger | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
Hagar Shipley's Rage for Life: Narrative Technique in The Stone Angel

Alice Bell

In The Stone Angel1 Margaret Laurence extends the range of first-person point of view by selecting and arranging elements of the narrative to form an intricate network of associations in which one part is related to another and adds to its meaning. Verbal motifs, images, and symbols gain greater significance each time they appear in a new context. In addition, one part of the network modifies another so that the import of the completed pattern is greater than that of the sum of its parts. With these techniques Laurence is able to communicate more than Hagar Shipley actually tells us about herself and to create a multifaceted portrait of a complex and self-contradictory woman.

Examination of the structure of the first chapter and of how the ideas Laurence introduces there gather meaning as they recur throughout the novel will demonstrate how skillfully she has composed her picture of Hagar and will reveal qualities for the reader to consider in assessing this complicated character.

In the brief reverie which opens the book, Laurence identifies personal values which shaped Hagar's character and communal attitudes which were the foundation of her society and presents images associated with these concepts. For Hagar, the stone angels in the Manawaka cemetery are symbols of passive, weak-spirited women who acquiesced with death because they did not have the strength to cope with life. Her sympathies are with the rugged, strong-willed, albeit irascible, women who survive. She has more respect for the "ungrateful, fox-voiced" Mrs. Weese, a "disreputable lady" who rose from her sick bed and lived for another decade, than for her martyred daughter, Regina, a "flimsy, gutless creature, bland as egg custard." Hagar's own mother "relinquished her feeble ghost" at the same time that Hagar gained her "stubborn one." For ninety years Hagar has lived with vigor and determination and has raged against the limitations of life.

The graveyard area and the flowers that grow there represent two social groups in Manawaka. Within the cemetery bloom the cultivated peonies, with their "funeral-parlor perfume." Hagar associates them with both civilization and death.

-51-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
New Perspectives on Margaret Laurence: Poetic Narrative, Multiculturalism, and Feminism
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 238

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.